Black Lives Matter demonstrators lie face down on Grand Ave. outside of Des Moines City Hall on June 6, 2020 as part of a protest against police violence and the killing o George Floyd.
Grant Gerlock / IPR File

The Des Moines City Council has passed an anti-racial profiling ordinance nearly two years after the first version of the proposal was introduced.

Zac Cain / Unsplash

What if you could produce meat without having to raise or slaughter an animal?

Katie Smith / Unsplash

Cooking and sharing meals brings people together. Learning to cook and prepare food might sound tedious and time consuming. But, with a few basic skills and recipes, you can become self-sufficent in your own kitchen. During this episode of Talk of Iowa, learn how to make new recipes and get your children interested in cooking at home with Kumar Wickramasingha and Katy Meyer.

Courtesy of Nina Lavezzo-Stecopoulos

Iowa City student journalist Nina Lavezzo-Stecopoulos took a class on social justice. That inspired her to investigate the racial breakdown of detention and suspension rates at her high school. Her investigation uncovered a significant disaparity and earned her national recognition. 

Maya Alleruzzo / AP Photo

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with poet, essayist and author Christopher Merrill.

Courtesy of Langston Thomas

The day law enforcement fired tear gas and rubber bullets to clear the way for President Trump’s notorious photo-op at St. John’s church, Grinnell College graduate Langston Thomas was there.

Nick Brincks / IPR file

Iowa high school baseball and softball teams were allowed to start their summer seasons earlier this month, but COVID-19 has already benched several teams.

In this file photo, a worker at a meat processing plant stands side by side other workers.
Courtesy of Oxfam America / file

Meatpacking plants continue to be a driving factor in coronavirus outbreaks across rural America. In Iowa, refugees from Myanmar are among the hardest-hit, as nearly the entire community works in the plants. Many feel they don’t have options, other than to work in facilities where social distancing is extremely difficult.

Ben Wicks / Unsplash

A year ago, the Iowa Legislature created a children’s mental health system, and many were concerned because that system came without state funding attached. This year the legislature experienced an unusual session broken up by the COVID-19 pandemic, and proposed funding didn’t pass. This has left some regions concerned about where that leaves the system now.

Wild Air Studios

William J. Locker has been sitting on the song “Livin’ In Denial” for a while. He’s decided now is the time to release it, along with a striking music video.


Locker is a veteran of the Iowa music scene. In addition to teaching drum lessons at Central Iowa Music Lab, he’s worked as a session musician at Sonic Factory Studios, which is owned by his brother, Jon. He’s also a member of two cover bands, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Pianopalooza, and he writes and records music with his wife, singer-songwriter Nella Thomas.

Follow the latest Iowa news in our Daily Digest, a liveblog where you can catch up on the headlines and find more reporting from our news team from around Iowa.

Woodbury County will take part in a nationwide effort to promote U.S. Highway 20’s original route by installing historic markers along the section that officials hope will generate tourism. 

University of Iowa

The University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and University of Northern Iowa have each released plans to bring students back to campus in some capacity this fall, despite ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Irene Davila / Unsplash

What if you have a shady spot in your lawn and you don’t want to plant hostas?

Eight commissioners pose for a picture in front of a blue bike sculpture.
Caleb Knutson / Iowa Commission of Latino Affairs

The Iowa Commission of Latino Affairs has started a collaboration with Hola Iowa, a bilingual news outlet focused on Latino communities in Iowa and western Illinois. They loosely named the project “Latinos You Should Know.” The entire issue of the Hola Iowa publication will be devoted to highlighting the work of 20 Latinos of 2020.

kjbax / Flickr

This Sunday is Father’s Day. In honor of that fact, here are five videos of musical fathers and their grown children performing together.

CDC / Unsplash

Students around the world experienced an abrupt, anticlimactic ending to their academic year. Although students are now officially on summer break, administrators and school leaders are actively creating plans for how to safely bring students back to the classroom in the fall. 

Banners in from of the Supreme Court building say "Homeish" and "Here to stay." There are people with masks holding up the signs.
Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP Photo

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against the Trump administration and upheld Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or more commonly known as DACA. The recipients are known as DREAMers, and those in Iowa and throughout the United States can now stay in the country without fear of deportation.

The decision was close, but by a ruling of 5-4, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to allow DACA recipients to stay in the country without fear of deportation. According to the American Immigration Council website, there are about 2,500 DACA recipients in Iowa and more than 600,000 in the U.S.

Courtesy of Penguin Random House

At a time of extreme politcal polarization, Colin Woodard's latest book seems more pertinent than ever. On this episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks to Woodward about his book, "Union: The Struggle to Forge the Story of United States Nationhood." In it, he explores how the "myth" of national unity in the United States came to be.

Penn State / Flickr

Classical music can feel daunting to dig into if you’ve not had a lot of exposure to the genre. There are lots of terms, styles, composers, and performers, and if you are unfamiliar, it can feel tough to break in. Since schools adjourned due to the pandemic, we’ve been working to create resources for learners of all ages. This summer, we’re going to dig into classical music for the non-classical listener.

There are many composers who have written amazing music, and this is by no means a definitive list. But if you’re just wondering where to start, these incredible writers serve as a great jumping off point and each have enough repertoire to keep you busy for a while.

Thomas Macintosh / Urban Hues Imagery

The impact of jazz music in America reaches far beyond the musical innovation of the genre. On today's episode of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe speaks with Damani Phillips, director of jazz studies and associate professor of African-American studies at the University of Iowa, about the role jazz played during the fight for civil rights in the 1960s.

Melissa Porter

At Drake University, there is one top dog on campus: Griff the bulldog. Unfortunately, June 30 marks Griff's last day as Drake University's mascot. In the fall, "Griff II (aka, George)" will take his place during a change of harness ceremony. To honor Griff's tenure as mascot, author Gary Porter wrote a memoir about Griff entitled "Griff: My Life as Drake's Top Dog."

Charlie Neibergall/AP

On this episode of River to River, political scientists Sara Mitchell of the University of Iowa and Evan Renfro of the University of Northern Iowa join host Ben Kieffer for a look at top political headlines from the week.

Steve Garrington QC Honor Flight

Veterans who fly to Washington D.C. to see their service memorials on so-called Honor Flights will have to wait until next year.

The National Honor Flight Board  has canceled all trips until 2021 due to concerns over COVID-19.

The trips began in 2005 to take World War II veterans to see their newly-dedicated memorial at no cost to them. Co-Chair of the Sullivan Hartog Davis Flight in Waterloo, Frank Magsamen said the trips have continued with the fewer of the oldest veterans.

Matt Alvarez/IPR file

The Iowa City City Council voted Tuesday night to develop a plan to restructure the city’s police department, at the urging of local Black Lives Matter activists. Local officials described the effort as a “major” step towards reducing the city’s reliance on armed officers for nonviolent situations.

Pence Visits Winnebago Industries, Marks Reopening Of Forest City Eatery

Jun 16, 2020
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Vice President Mike Pence says America is making what he calls a “transition to greatness,” as the economy bounces back from pandemic shutdowns.

“After the difficult times through which we have passed as a nation, today every state in this country and nearly three-quarters of America’s small businesses have already begun to reopen,” Pence said early this afternoon in north central Iowa. “We’re opening up America again and you’re part of that story.”

Pence told a crowd in Forest City that all 50 states are reopening in a safe and responsible way.

Courtesy of Fremont County Iowa Emergency Management

Globally and nationally, people are experiencing a multitude of crises. All at once, individuals are feeling the impact of a global pandemic, police brutality and the continuing effects of climate change. On this episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer is joined by experts in environmental health and sustainability for a look at the intersection of these global crises.

Duane Tinkey / DMMO

For close to 50 summers, the Des Moines Metro Opera has been presenting knock-your-socks-off performances in Indianola. The DMMO, considered one of the major American summer opera festivals, produces more than 100 performances annually and receives rave reviews from the nationally acclaimed “Opera News” and “Opera Today.”

Since 2011, IPR Classical has traveled to Indianola to interview artists, produce and broadcast The Des Moines Metro Opera’s nationally-recognized mainstage performances.

Due to COVID-19, it was with a heavy heart the company had to cancel its live summer festival season. Instead, the opera is presenting a virtual festival. 

Amy Mayer / IPR file

Several Iowa leaders are asking the federal government to add turkey farms to the types of agricultural businesses that get relief from coronavirus-related losses. The industry was not mentioned in the CARES Act nor in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s payment program for farm businesses.

“There was no money made available for turkeys,” says Ron Kardel, a turkey farmer in Walcott and chair of the National Turkey Federation.

Gov. Reynolds Will Issue Order On Felon Voting Rights

Jun 16, 2020

Gov. Kim Reynolds will issue an executive order that automatically restores felon voting rights before the November election.

“We’re working on that right now, sitting down with various groups, listening to what they think is important what is contained in that executive order,” Reynolds said Tuesday in Osage, “and then I’ve got my legal team working on it.”